Thursday, April 29, 2010

Drapetomania

I have nothing to say about it, I just wanted to call attention to it for anyone who might have been as unaware of it as I was. Scientific racism at its finest.

Also: relevance to contemporary society? Discuss.

Wokka wokka wokka



via Poumista

Mostly posting this to prove that that last post wasn't a suicide note, despite the days of silence following it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Walter M. Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz page 128

(Cross-posted from Commonplace)

When you tire of living, change itself seems evil, does it not? for then any change at all disturbs the deathlike peace of the life-weary.

Duchamp's notes on infrathin (25)

The pearlescent, the moiré
the iridescent in general:
relationships to
the infra thin

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Glen AND Glenda

From Science News: Chicken cells have strong sense of sexual identity.

Basically, a study of a rare but naturally occurring developmental oddity in chickens that results in animals bilaterally divided into male and female (seriously, look at the picture) has found that male and female cells are scattered throughout the body, male dominating one side and female dominating the other, regardless of the hormonal signals that previously were thought to override this cellular sex.
Subsequent experiments supported the idea of strong, cell-by-cell sex identity. When the researchers transplanted tissues from genetically female embryos into what would become the gonads of genetically male ones and vice versa, the transplanted cells didn’t start expressing opposite-sex characteristics.

In combination with other recent papers, says UCLA geneticist Art Arnold, the new study calls for fresh thinking about sex determination, and not just in birds. “The old hormone-only theory is no longer viable, for birds or mammals,” he says.
In some ways this seems like it could be a bit disheartening for humans using hormone therapy as part of a transition process*, but to me, taken together with a lot of other research (like the experiment I pointed out a while back in which female mice were turned into male mice by switching one gene), I find this fantastic. It's yet another scientific finding chipping away at the notion we have that sex is a simple binary, and yet another encouraging sign that we may eventually have far greater control over how our bodies reflect gender than we do now.

*Though of course hormones do have a huge, demonstrable effect that no amount of scientific findings about cellular sex can take away, and knowing more about this stuff can only help the hormones to be more effective.

Further quickies

I have plenty of things I want to write about but no inclination to do so right now. So for now here's another quick thing:

The spectacle (not The Spectacle) of people chaining themselves to the White House fence to fight for the right to serve the State in the most devoted way possible is, uh, troubling.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This is easy

Haven't much felt like writing recently, but criticizing PZ Myers is easy so here goes:

Hey, you reprehensible idiot.

The "idiots of Islam can rely on intimidation and fear to silence their critics"? Do you have any idea what is going on in this real world you claim to care about so much?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Duchamp's notes on infrathin (24)

A ray of light (sun)
reduced to an infra thin (probably not possible
because of the "cone") -- Smoke or other gas
cut into an infrathin slice.

Colors and infra thin
Transparency "attenuating" the colors
into infrathin "Lamination" to isolate an
infrathin -- Between 2 sheets of glass
a substance that solidifies without
adhering to the sheets of glass --
compression -- rather than lamination

Spider web as an example of the "natural"
isolation of a carcass
(pseudo-geometric)
of infrathin

Monday, April 19, 2010

the only tmz headline i've ever looked at

Nic Cage Buys Pyramid -- To Be Dead In

THIS IS A SERIOUS DANGER!!!

 
Apple needs to get out of the censorship game. Review apps for compatibility, but not content; it's OK if Apple will only market neutered, innocuous apps through their branded store, but not OK if they use their tech to restrict access and allow no other app outlets.
 
This is a serious enough danger that I've decided to put off any purchase of an iPad until I see some resolution of this problem. Unlock the apps.
 
Unlock the apps! This is so serious that I might not buy something yet!

UPDATE: Tristero is reliably hilarious. The gist: whoa, Apple is evil! But come on now, not buying an iPad? Why, that's sedition!

The things I don't know

Sometimes when I learn something that startles me and helps to explain a lot of the way things work, I'm unsure of how important it is to share the discovery, because I have no idea if it's just me being ignorant or if it's genuinely something most people don't know.

For example, about six months ago when I read Assata, the autobiography of Assata Shakur and one of the best books I've ever read, I was startled to learn that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution explicitly allows slavery in one case:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Which made a lot of things make sense that hadn't before. Or more accurately, fully explained things that I hadn't realized didn't make sense. Like, before I learned about that, I thought the existence of private prisons was the entire justification for all the increased incarceration of the past few decades, despite the fact that private prisons actually account for only a small percentage of the totality of the American prison landscape, and despite the fact that I didn't have a clear concept of how incarceration led to profit. I just hadn't thought it through.

Now I know. Prisoners are slave laborers. Not metaphorically, literally.

(An aside: right now I'm finding it useful to think of the 13th Amendment not as abolishing slavery so much as changing it from a private system to a government one. The mixed public-private incarceration system that we're seeing now is essentially a symptom of the accelerating melding of the public and the private.)

And a related thing I just learned about in Are Prisons Obsolete? is the "convict lease" program, instituted in the wake of the 13th Amendment, in which, as the name of the program indicates, convicts could be leased for labor. The especially neat thing about this is that after the end of slavery, the Black prison population in formerly slave areas shot up dramatically. After all, imprisonment is the punishment of the individual by taking away his or her rights; under slavery, Black people had no rights, so their punishment took other forms. Now that Black people at least theoretically had rights, they could be taken away--and not only that, but the lawmakers set about making all kinds of things illegal specifically so that Black people could be "duly convicted" of them.

So you've got these suddenly primarily Black prisoners available for "lease." You purchase the right to use them for a month for some fee. As Angela Davis points out, this often led to worse treatment than under slavery, because when you own a slave you have an investment in them, and don't want to work them to death because then you have to go buy another one. With leasing, there's no reason not to work them to death, because you can just go lease another one, which you would have done anyway.

According to wikipedia, the "system was slowly phased out in the early 20th century, with Alabama being the last state to outlaw the practice in 1928." Which is awfully recent for something so completely horrific, so intensely brutal, to have happened and been entirely forgotten.

And of course there is still a vast, and exponentially increasing, sea of Black (and other shade) bodies in prison being used for profit to this day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More on Playtime

Following up on the Baronette's typically brief post on Tati's Playtime, I wanted to be wordier about it.

When people talk about Jacques Tati, they usually just talk kind of vaguely about the alienation of modern life and technology. Which, you know, sure. But Playtime is much much more than that. Most of the running time is, to be sure, about alienation in modern surroundings. And before I even get to my big but about that I want to point out the smaller but that even this alienation is presented with such a degree of playfulness and exhilaration that tells you that Tati's not wandering through this alienation anywhere near as helplessly as his Monsieur Hulot is. The characters in the movie might have emotions ranging from not-unhappy downwards, but the movie itself is filled with joy.

Towards the end of the film we find out explicitly where it comes from, and it's my big but. In an extended sequence, a brand-new ultra-modern nightclub starts getting customers before it's even done being constructed, and then people keep piling in in larger and larger numbers and before long they've literally torn the place to pieces. And as they destroy and remake the modern world they're in, they suddenly become absolutely, uproariously joyous, and dance and drink and laugh into the morning.

And then, here's the great part: the rest of the movie keeps that mood. They're back out into surroundings they haven't remade for themselves, surroundings that just yesterday (just about fifteen minutes ago in screen time) were harsh and alien, but the joy remains. These people have figured out how to take the surroundings they're given and use them for their own purposes, rather than how the places signal them to use them.

Or, as Jonathan Rosenbaum put it (as I see him quoted by Roger Ebert), Playtime
directs us to look around at the world we live in (the one we keep building), then at each other, and to see how funny that relationship is and how many brilliant possibilities we still have in a shopping-mall world that perpetually suggests otherwise; to look and see that there are many possibilities and that the play between them, activated by the dance of our gaze, can become a kind of comic ballet, one that we both observe and perform.
This is why the Baronette says it's nice to learn that Debord loved the movie. It could just as well have been called Psychogeography: The Movie. Except of course that that would take probably the single most wonderfully joyful movie I've ever seen and make it sound kind of dry and intellectual. Which it completely is not. I've seriously never had so much fun watching a movie, nor have I ever been so inspired to face the world differently by a movie.

you know it

good to know that guy debord was a fan of jacques tati's "Play Time". that would have been downright silly of him to think otherwise.

Duchamp's notes on infrathin (23)

X Rays
(?)
infra thin
Transparency or cuttingness

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why Godwin's Law is the stupidest goddamn thing ever

I would like to call attention to the last of the excerpts from Are Prisons Obsolete? that I just posted, in which medical experiments performed on American prisoners between World War II and 1974 are glancingly described.

Medical experiments on captive populations. If you, like me, are a recovering liberal and still in the back of your mind keeping a list of things the U.S. hasn't done recently that make us* in some way better than the Nazis, you can cross that one off.

*"Us" in the sense of "me and a group of people that may or may not include some of the people I'm speaking to." I wish English could distinguish between "me and you" us and "me and them" us.

Angela Y. Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? several excerpts

(Cross-posted from Commonplace)

[T]he prison sentence, which is always computed in terms of time, is related to abstract quantification, evoking the rise of science and what is often referred to as the Age of Reason. We should keep in mind that this was precisely the historical period when the value of labor began to be calculated in terms of time and therefore compensated in another quantifiable way, by money. The computability of state punishment in terms of time--days, months, years--resonates with the role of labor-time as the basis for computing the value of capitalist commodities. Marxist theorists of punishment have noted that precisely the historical period during which the commodity form arose is the era during which penitentiary sentences emerged as the primary form of punishment.
-page 44

[C]onvicts punished by imprisonment in emergent penitentiary systems were primarily male. This reflected the deeply gender-biased structure of legal, political, and economic rights. Since women were largely denied public status as rights-bearing individuals, they could not be easily punished by the deprivation of such rights through imprisonment.
-page 45

It was during the decade of the 1980s that corporate ties to the punishment system became more extensive and entrenched than ever before. But throughout the history of the U.S. prison system, prisoners have always constituted a potential source of profit. For example, they have served as valuable subjects in medical research...

During the post-World War II period, for example, medical experimentation on captive populations helped to hasten the development of the pharmaceutical industry...

By the time the experimentation program was shut down in 1974 and new federal regulations prohibited the use of prisoners as subjects for academic and corporate research, numerous cosmetics and skin creams had already been tested. Some of them had caused great harm to these subjects and could not be marketed in their original form. Johnson and Johnson, Ortho Pharmaceutical, and Down Chemical are only a few of the corporations that reaped great material benefits from these experiments.
-pages 88-90

Earn Enough for Us



There's not much to say about this song, which is simple-minded enough to speak for itself, so I'm not going to pull a repeat of the Baronette's "Drunken Maria" post from last night. I'm just enjoying it right now. I love the prechorus melody ("Glad that you want to be my wife, but honest...").

Twibrary of Blogress

The dismissive tone of this short post mentioning the Library of Congress's plans to archive twitter posts (or twosts), and the far more dismissive tone of most of the comments on it, irritates me. I'm not going to make any kind of claim that twitter is creating revolutionary social change or any kind of great literature or anything of the kind (though it may be doing that, who knows), but the idea that there can be no value in recording these things amounts to the idea that there is no value in the thoughts and actions of everyday people.

What is unprecedented with twitter and with blogs and so on is not so much the fact that the masses (and yes, I know that it's a limited, generally privileged slice of the masses) have things to say and are saying them as that they/we now have a platform to say these things and have them recorded and accessible to anyone (the word "anyone" carrying the same restrictions I mentioned before) who wants to read them, irrespective of the ability of these thoughts to sell commodities, and irrespective of the monetary value of the thinker. To dismiss all of this as narcissistic navel gazing, regardless of whether or not much of it is narcissistic navel gazing, is insulting and, I would argue, elitist in a way that is very useful to power.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Drunken Maria



the Monks often seem beyond belief to me. they achieve genuine unease through the filter of absolute mania. no other band can sound this joyous and menacing simultaneously. (i will admit that there are some that come very close though.) another thing that fuels my astonishment is that this music predates The Velvet Underground & Nico. a lot of garage rock was bold, but not like this.

take a song like "drunken maria" from their album Black Monk Time. under two minutes a scene of forced nihilism is shaped with unquestionable glee. in alternating commands - "sleepy maria, don't drink!" "drunken maria, don't sleep!" - they not only define this girl's existence, they deny her of it!

dadaist strains ran all through their music. (the chorus of their song "shut up" contains the absolutely brilliant line, "be a liar everywhere.") with that in mind, a dimension of "drunken maria" is revealed. this jaunty, little pop song is no less than a reaction aimed straight at the heart of the prevailing culture - a reaction which feels no need for a distinction between sincerity and insincerity. and why should it cater to this world? especially when it's laid down like this.

i may post more about the Monks in the future. the impact they continue to have on me is immeasurable. if you haven't heard Black Monk Time, check it out. i'll end here to keep things brief. that's it!

Duchamp's notes on infrathin (22)

Application of oblique daylight
to the production
of infra thin.

I don't believe you

Spotted on the same car today:



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

People who should know better

Angela Y. Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete?:
 
One of the grave consequences of the powerful reach of the prison was the 2000 (s)election of George W. Bush as president. If only the black men and women denied the right to vote because of an actual or presumed felony record had been allowed to cast their ballots, Bush would not be in the White House today. And perhaps we would not be dealing with the awful costs of the War on Terrorism declared during the first year of his administration. If not for his election, the people of Iraq might not have suffered death, destruction, and environmental poisoning by U.S. military forces.
 
I hate to be critical of this book, because though I'm not very far into it and she's still making her background arguments, it's already extremely useful and clearly very important. But this is an unambiguous example of a problem I've noticed throughout the text thus far: passive democratic partisanship. While detailing the prison building boom that we've been going through since the 1980s, she mentions Reagan and both Bushes by name several times, with no mention of Clinton, under whose presidency the trend towards mass imprisonment only accelerated. Surely of all people Angela Davis shouldn't fall for this nonsense.
 
I know from seeing her speak a few years back that she had no illusions about Obama well before he was elected. And it's entirely possible that this is a rhetorical gambit, one intended to draw in liberals who might be at least somewhat sympathetic to her arguments but would be alienated by criticisms of democrats early on. If this is the case, I hope she addresses it at some point in the remainder of the book.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Recommendation

If you're interested in any of these things:

-guilt, both as an emotion and as a fact
-imperialism and its effect on both the colonized and the colonizer
-how the failings of the society express themselves as the failings of the individual
-privilege and the insecurity it breeds
-long stretches of silence
-ambiguity
-movies

and you haven't seen Michael Haneke's brilliant Caché, I suggest you remedy that.

Duchamp's notes on infrathin (21)

cast shadow
oblique
infrathin

Typo impression
photo
etc.
infrathin

Survival of the oppressive fittest

I don't really know much about Naomi Wolf, but I just happened across this quote of hers, which I had seen before and I think is fairly famous:
Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.
I think she kind of overstates her case with that "most" there, but aside from that minor quibble (one I really have no right to make, considering the frequency of my own case-overstating) it's an excellent observation. The need for women to adhere to unreachable and irrelevant standards of beauty is a huge obstacle to their achieving equality even in, say, the repressive exploitation of wage slavery, let alone any other aspect of life.

There is a particular argument that people commonly make against accurate descriptions of oppression in the form of Wolf's above (i.e., the form "this widely accepted fact of life in our society functions remarkably well to keep us from opposing or even noticing our own oppression"). When I saw this quote today it even lept, briefly, unbidden, to my mind, whereupon I had to exert an effort (a minimal effort, but an effort nonetheless) to banish it, which tells me it embedded deeply enough in my culture to be a part of my subconscious, which sucks. The argument goes something like this: "Oh come on. Do you really think there's there are a bunch of men sitting around in a room somewhere making the decision to inflict dieting on women just to keep them down?"

And, well. With this specific case there kind of is, considering that there's a beauty industry. So I guess that was a bad example. But even admitting this, many would make the argument "Well, maybe some women are affected that way, but it's not like anyone's doing it deliberately."

I have two thoughts about that.

First, intent doesn't matter. The effect does. The logic is similar to the common liberal "We're killing you for your own good" argument for war. Regardless of whether or not the people in charge of the beauty industry are sitting around in smokey back rooms twirling their mustaches and cackling about oppressing women, the fact remains that in real life women are oppressed by the things they do.

Second, and this is my main point regardless of how frickin' long it took me to get to it, you could see concepts like unattainable beauty as being the product of a process of Darwinian evolution. Human beings, moving around in their predictable/unpredictable ways, interacting and forming societies, inevitably create all kinds of ideas and cultural norms and aphorisms and expectations. These are often the specific creation of individuals that end up being popular, and also are often the result of mixing and matching all kind of pieces originating from different groups of people; either way, the rise to relevance is largely random.

But there are selective pressures. And in a capitalist, rigidly class-stratified culture like the one we've got, the overwhelmingly strongest of these pressures come from the interests of power. The big money system sees all these ideas percolating around. It sees some of them getting more popular. And it evaluates them for usefulness. Those that are useful--those that are immediately profitable, those which will perpetuate the system--get shitloads of money thrown at them. Those that are not do not or, worse, get money thrown at their opposites. In this way, the ideas that are useful to power survive and reproduce and spawn new ideas in new heads that are also useful to power, while those that are either useless or against power tend to die off before having much of an impact.

So it is that we have all these well-financed cultural messages telling women that they need to diet themselves into insanity, and spend an hour getting ready for work for every minute that a man spends doing the same. In this way women are driven to consume lots of products and to be unable to form useful opposition. Similarly, we're told over and over again by power that, say, money can't buy happiness and we're all much better off without it. And at the same time that poor people are poor because they're lazy. And at the same time that you should avoid looking poor by buying lots of expensive products. And so on and so on.

At the level of individuals, this mechanism mostly takes the form of people making marketing decisions based on what will keep them their own jobs. The ones who are good at picking the right ideas and trends to put money into keep their jobs long enough to keep doing it over and over again. And they do keep doing it, because in so doing they not only keep their jobs--they advance their careers. They know they have to advance their careers because there are a lot of well-financed messages telling them they have to. So, regardless of whether the smokey backrooms of villainy actually exist (and I believe that at least some of them do), the system knows how to perpetuate itself.

My new working definition of classical music

The genre in which works with known composers can be performed by people other than those composers, and no one will ever complain about it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

So weird

Following some links around from articles at the Punkass Blog, I stumbled, as I occasionally do, onto a feminist* blog that holds a vicious, psychotic hatred of transgender people. As usual when this happens, I'm filled with a strong urge to post a comment saying "You're absurdly hate-filled and have no idea what you're talking about," but I never do, because really what's the point?

My only reason for posting this right now is to say: huh?!?

I completely understand, though I disagree (somewhat selfishly, somewhat not), when some feminists' rage against men is indiscriminate and vehement. It is hard to be understanding when the entire class of human beings you belong to is oppressed by an entire other class. But what the hell did transgender people do to these feminists?

And it's a really bizarre kind of hatred, too. Or, rather, a bizarre kind of hatred for people calling themselves feminists to engage in. In the post and in the comments, all kinds of attitudes come out that I bet the people writing would immediately recognize as absurd if other people made them about any other group. In the original post, the writer says that transwomen should "try addressing the problem of rape and the men they are afraid will rape them, if they use the mensroom. but they never do," as though it was the responsibility of the victim to fix the victimizer. Or this from one of the comments (which gets an approving response from the original poster): "This would be funny if you weren’t right about trans women being MRAs. One of them even admitted it." One of them??? Hey, once I met a woman who lured men in with her looks and then crushed them! All women do that! Once I met a Black person who stole! All Black people do that! Are you fucking kidding me?

*I'm tempted to say "feminist" in quotation marks, but I don't want to be one of those people who defines "feminist" as "someone who agrees with me on everything."
**Another of those times when the possessive is insultingly inaccurate.

WOW: This post is awkwardly written. I might copyedit later. The content won't change, but the wording might a bit. Just, you know, a warning.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Duchamp's notes on infrathin (20)

pastel of dandruff
fallen from the hair
onto a paper
wet with glue

Five Dollar Friday

An excellent idea from Jon Schwartz. My first $5 are probably going to go to Arthur Silber, I'll see where to go after that. Sticking with Arthur wouldn't be a bad idea, either.

As I said at Jon's place, I plan to do this for as long as I can afford/remember to.

Pushing the penises down the page

Charles F. Oxtrot, for whom absolutely no one in the entire world is radical enough to be nice to, can often be kind of irritating, but he can also often be kind of right on:
Fuckin' pantywaist urbane liberals fear guns like nobody's business. They want all dogs leashed, they want guns outlawed, but they'll drive their fucking SUVs in a distracted state through a neighborhood full of children and dogs, yakking on a cell phone while putting on makeup or drinking coffee, at 20mph over the speed limit, and that's okay.

THE GUNS! THE UNLEASHED DOGS!

While they drive Death Race 2000 style, threatening all living creatures in their weaving, wobbling, unpredictable paths.

BUT HE BROUGHT A GUN TO A MEETING!

Jesus, talk about a disconnect from reality.
I have nothing to add, except that these liberals should maybe read some Black Panther literature if it's not too scary for them.

I hope to work on one of my longer essays tomorrow, but you never know what that means with me.

ADDENDUM: I didn't intend, by the way, to imply any equivalence between the guns-at-town-halls-and-all-that-stuff people, who are goofy at best, and the Black Panthers, who are due all admiration. It's just that when I hear all this liberal screeching about guns in public places, I always think of the Panthers. From the comfort of our cup holders we can find guns as distasteful as we please, but when you've got heavily armed motherfuckers shooting at you and your friends every day for no damn reason, it's good to be able to show them that you could, if you chose, shoot back.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

RIP Malcolm McLaren



I think in a vague way I always imagined he'd be immortal.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interpretable in several ways



(via Zamboni)

No, I haven't forgotten about him







Another quickie

I see via Jack that Obama's happily begun publicly issuing his very own fatwas. Ha ha, whee!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Concrete

The nice thing about my job is that it's given me a specific dollars per hour figure for what my emotional devastation is really worth.

I have a few longer essays I'm working on. I might finish them sometimes when I can pull myself together.

Duchamp's notes on infrathin (19)

Hollow paper
infra thin space
letter paper not cardboard
female measuring
instrument
you cut and you insert
the thing

Monday, April 5, 2010

back with this

from the "Black Flame" book:

"Luigi Galleani (1861 - 1931)... added the point that the value of less tangible products, such as 'Pascal's theorem... Newton's law of gravitation, or... Marconi's wireless telegraphy' could scarcely be assessed, nor could the innovations of these men be separated from the ideas and discoveries of others."

what he's getting at is a recurring theme on this blabstand - one that i find to be immeasurably significant one at this juncture. this interconnectivity extends throughout so many orders of life, but we rarely consider it to be beyond commodification and exclusivity. (if it is considered at all.)

i mean, just think about how guarded the entire medical industry is.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS HOUSE?!?!



Sarah, Leland, and Laura Palmer's house is for sale! The back of it doesn't look remotely like I would have imagined.

Duchamp's notes on infrathin (18)

The difference
(dimensional) between
2 mass produced objects
[from the same mold]
is an infra thin
when the maximum (?)
precision is
obtained.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Quickie

Jay Taber:
It is sad that liberal Americans are so gullible that they believed a totalitarian state would be accomplished under the reign of the idiot son of an aristocratic family, rather than by a slick-talking, well-marketed, black man from Wall Street.
Lest anyone accuse me of quoting this pithy truth as a means of asserting my superiority, let me be clear: I certainly was one of those gullible liberals until embarrassingly recently.

More complaints about women in sci-fi TV

I just sat down to watch the first post-hiatus episode of FlashForward, because even though I mostly hate that show, it throws out enough cool sci-fi bits like "all the crows died at the same time" or "weird mysterious tower in the middle of Somalia and a big black cloud" or "the LHC did it," and enough really entertainingly batty moments like "main character lying on the ground shot and one of those alarm clocks with wheels rolling around in the puddle of blood" to keep me watching half-heartedly.

And I'm disappointed in myself for not even noticing this until ten episodes in, but the main characters' flashforwards are rigidly gender-segregated.

The men: One is in his FBI office dramatically figuring things out while masked people with guns hunt him down. One is searching for his daughter in war-torn Afghanistan (ugh). One is in a heated phone call about the fate of the world. One didn't have a flashforward, so, ooh, is he dead in the future?

The women: One is with a man who is not her husband. One is pregnant. One (it seems) is getting married. One is being drowned. And, uh...that's it.

And, OK, sure, it's not as cut and dry as all that. One of the men is on the toilet, ha ha. The daughter in Afghanistan (whose flashforward I don't believe we've seen) is a soldier. And then there are minor characters whose visions deviate from the standard set by the main characters.

But the overall pattern stands: the men are in action! They're doing world-shaping important things! The women are cheating on their husbands or getting married (or is she?) or being pregnant or being brutalized by men.

The show is also stupid in many other ways.

Also, if I were a TV show coming back from months of hiatus, I would find a better way to open the returning episode than with four minutes of almost unbroken shitty CGI.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Vanishing

So far as I know I don't post much of anything that would prompt google to delete my blog, but the apparent deletion of my favorite music blog, Zamboni Soundtracks, has me wondering if I really want to keep writing on a site that could be completely yanked out from under me at any moment on the whim of an enormous corporation. I probably won't end up doing anything, especially because I don't have the dedication to make and host a blog myself, and because if I switch I kinda-sorta lose my archives, but man this system sucks.

Acknowledged

April 1 saw two long, interesting essays appear in the blogs I read. I have not yet been able to formulate responses to them, but I'm feeling a need to acknowledge them. So:

Jack Crow against "right and wrong." Awesome intro about eternal uncertainty, too.

Lisa Kansas on "fun feminism." I hadn't heard the term before but I'm definitely familiar with the concept and yeah, yuck. Replacing a system of oppression from without with a system of oppression from within, all the while retaining the same ol' subservience to consumerism, is not a positive step.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Early bedtime tonight

I am frickin' beat, y'all.

Duchamp's notes on infrathin (17)

Hollow paper (infra-thin space
and yet without there being
2 sheets)

OK, this is a good April Fool

Probably the funniest thing I've ever seen Tristero write, and that's saying a lot.

I feel no need to comment, but I will excerpt some of my favorite sections. Like:
A smart, highly knowledgeable, highly accomplished friend lit into Obama and pulled no punches. Obama's corrupt economic appointees, the consequent lack of any serious financial reform, the failure to take advantage of an historic moment to change the country. Obama was an incredible disappointment.

I couldn't help but disagree but I don't understand exactly why. Maybe it was simple ornery contrarianism, or maybe, having missed the first part of the discussion where he said that he was glad that the health bill passed, I felt that the very real, very obvious distinctions between Obama and Bush were being minimized.
Or:
In fact, I said, the most plausible historic opportunity available on Election Day was the potential for an immediate, and heavily- armed/funded, rightwing revolt. (Obama seems to have delayed the full onset of that, thank whatever gods or avatars you care to invoke, but it's arguable whether The Big Crazy can be avoided for much longer; certain loud voices on the right have made it abundantly clear that there will be blood, the sooner the better. Whether cooler heads exist anymore within the GOP to rein in these thugs is more the shadow of a wish than much of a hope ). I said I was glad that Obama refused to exploit his charisma back then, that it showed strength of character on his part, not a failure to lead. Charisma is not an unalloyed virtue; after all, highly charismatic leaders share at least one thing: they get people killed. Lots of them.

Off went my email and good, oh! it felt good.
Or, finally:
By all means, feel free to argue that there is no essential difference between Bush's and Obama's administration and politics. Just don't ask me to discuss it with you. Not because I agree but because it would be at best as futile as explaining the sonic differences between the "grand piano" patch on a cheap Casio keyboard and a perfectly-tuned Bosendorfer to someone who was born without hearing.

Put another way, to argue that there is no essential difference between Obama and Bush is as ludicrous as arguing that there was no difference between Gore and Bush. And we all know how very astute and informed and clever an observation that was.
EVERY SENTENCE a punchline.

As of now

My landlord is, like, god's gift to landlords. Or, I don't know, rephrase that sentence in a way that makes sense. He convinced his sister (who he delightfully faggily described as "Looks just like me, drives a minivan, total Desperate Housewife"*) to drive two hours out of her way today with her sons who had to go to karate to bring us two sump pumps, because she, unlike every hardware store in the tri-state area, had them. After only a few hours, pretty much all of the accumulated water in our basement has been pumped out. Naturally there's still a whole shitload of stuff to do in the way of cleanup and drying and de-moldification, but I can't even tell you what a relief it is, and how satisfying it is, to see that water getting sucked up and pumped away.

Credit where it is due to the Baronette, who did all of the wading around in the basement. I just ran around fiddling with hoses and extension cords. She did all the hard work.

The rain stopped, the clouds broke. Right now the skies are beautifully clear. As my father and I keep discussing, there is every possibility that spring/summer monsoons are the new New England climate. If so, there will have to be major adjustments in every facet of our lives. But for right now, things are looking up.

*He also, after telling me he was dealing with flooding at my house and his own house, called himself "The Water Removal Queen" and said "It's a title I never wanted." I love him.

April FUCK OFF

I hate April Fools Day, leave me alone.

Easy posting for drunk late-night

Jack Crow:
Barack Jesus Reagan pretty much dispensed with all that, in lieu of the perpetual chanting of two one word slogans, and a three word anodyne for the rigors and pains of tempered, original thought.
That's all, just liked the phrasing.